TreatingStrains and Sprains                      

Gordon Teasdale

Organic Motion Cycling

The aim of this vignette is to describe the treatment following an acute soft tissue injury such as a strain or sprain.

Treatment of Strains and Sprains

The NICE (National Institute for Health and Clinical excellence) guidelines for the initial treatment of a strain or a sprain is to follow both the PRICE and the HARM protocols.


PRICE recovery plan for the first 24 to 72 hours after injury.

  • P – Protect: Stop the activity to protect the injury from further damage. Protection or support of the injured area or extremity with the use of padding, splints or crutches to take the weight of the injured leg.
  • R – Rest: Rest as much as possible. To place as little weight on the affected area and reduce activity to the minimum
  • I – Ice: Apply an ice pack on the affected region for 20 minutes, 4 to 8 times per day.
  • C – Compression: The use of a compression bandage on the affected region will help to reduce the swelling
  • E – Elevation: Elevating the affected area above the level of the heart will help to reduce swelling. This can be achieved by lying in a supine position and placing the affected limb on a pillow.


The no HARM protocol complements PRICE

Remember as ‘Do no HARM’ to the injury.

For the first 48 to 72 hours after injury.

  • H – Heat. Make sure that Heat is not applied to the injury during the first 72 hours. Heat encourages blood flow to the injury and counteracts the effect of ice treatment.
  • A – Alcohol. No alcohol must be consumed as it increases both bleeding and welling
  • R – Running. No form of exercised must be reduce the risk of further injury.
  • M – Massage. No massage during the first 72 hours. Massage during the first 72 hours may cause bleeding and welling to the injury.


NHS Choices Your health, your choices. 2012. Sprains and strains. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 18 December 13].

Vincent Iannelli, M.D.. 2005. Treating Sprains and Strains. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 18 December 13].